Help me choose a 4K video camera

BaldyBaldy Registered Users, Super Moderators Posts: 2,853 moderator
edited August 2, 2016 in Video
So I was really leaning toward the GH4 because I could get that wonderful shallow depth of field with the 0.95 lenses available for it. But the rolling shutter, poor high ISO performance, and form factor with no image stabilization, etc., has me doubting.

So now I'm looking at the Sony AX100 camcorder, which is getting amazing reviews:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?N=11022653&InitialSearch=yes&sts=pi

What do you think?

Comments

  • ziggy53ziggy53 Super Moderators Posts: 23,704 moderator
    edited December 12, 2014
    I feel confident in recommending that you at least rent a Sony Full Frame, model # ILCE-7S (aka Alpha 7s, also Sony a7s) body for evaluation. As a relatively inexpensive body with 4K video capabilities (uncompressed QFHD 4K video (3840 x 2160) in 8-bit 4:2:2 to an optional external 3rd party 4k recorder via HDMI), phenomenal high-ISO performance in both still image and video modes, S-Log2 gamma and a claimed 15.3 stops of dynamic range, this is a monster machine that even impressed Philip Bloom:

    http://philipbloom.net/2014/08/06/a7svideoreview/

    Couple the above with available lenses and lens adapters, and you may have an excellent and highly flexible system to cover most circumstances. (Indeed this seems to be the consensus of Sony a7s users I have researched.)

    I suggest that the combination of the Sony FDR-AX100 plus a Sony ILCE-7S would be a very nice pairing, with the ease of use of the Handycam plus the superb, but more involved setup and handling, capture of the ILCE for situations where video quality merits the extra time and trouble.

    Edit: Here are some Vimeo videos made with, or related to, the Sony ILCE-7S:

    http://vimeo.com/tag:sony+a7s/sort:likes/formatthumb.gifnail
    ziggy53
    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
  • ziggy53ziggy53 Super Moderators Posts: 23,704 moderator
    edited December 13, 2014
    The The Blackmagic Production Camera 4K appears to be the least expensive 4K video camera with a global shutter, eliminating the problems of CMOS and rolling shutter. It can use Canon EF mount lenses, which can help reduce TCO (especially if you already own those lenses).

    At $40,000USD it's not a trivial purchase, but rental can help a lot in reducing production costs.


    The AJA CION 4K Production Camera is pretty close to being available, should ship at less than $10,000USD (but necessary addons will increase total cost of ownership), and sports an APS-C sized 4K CMOS image sensor with an electronic global shutter, 12 stops of dynamic range, and a PL lens mount. Too early for formal reviews but looks promising.
    ziggy53
    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
  • ian408ian408 Administrators Posts: 21,895 moderator
    edited December 13, 2014
    The Sony's are getting great reviews. I don't know if it's just because they are the new new thing but I've been thinking about the a7II.

    I don't know (yet) whether the s or II is the way to go. The reviews of the Sony IBIS are what steer me toward the II. It's supposed to be very good for Sony lenses and just good for others. There are adapters for Canon & Nikon lenses. The one thing that seems to have everyone wondering is the availability of Sony lenses. I can see 5-6 specifically for the a7 but one of Sony's print ads says there are 50.

    I'm waiting to hear some more real user reviews but so far, it's looking good. I have a GH2-it's OK but based on that, I wouldn't be likely to buy another Panasonic.

    I should add that the II doesn't have 4K video-not sure that's an issue for me. Oh, I was going to rent one from BL in the new year.
    Moderator Journeys/Sports/Big Picture :: Need some help with dgrin?
  • ziggy53ziggy53 Super Moderators Posts: 23,704 moderator
    edited December 14, 2014
    ian408 wrote: »
    The Sony's are getting great reviews. I don't know if it's just because they are the new new thing but I've been thinking about the a7II.

    I don't know (yet) whether the s or II is the way to go. The reviews of the Sony IBIS are what steer me toward the II. It's supposed to be very good for Sony lenses and just good for others. There are adapters for Canon & Nikon lenses. The one thing that seems to have everyone wondering is the availability of Sony lenses. I can see 5-6 specifically for the a7 but one of Sony's print ads says there are 50.

    I'm waiting to hear some more real user reviews but so far, it's looking good. I have a GH2-it's OK but based on that, I wouldn't be likely to buy another Panasonic.

    I should add that the II doesn't have 4K video-not sure that's an issue for me. Oh, I was going to rent one from BL in the new year.

    Sony is doing great things with both IBIS (In Body Image Stabilization, also known as "Steady Shot") and OSS (Optical Steady Shot, or in-lens stabilization). Eventually, it would be nice to have both in-body and in-lens stabilization working in tandem, but that seems a bit in the future.

    Yes, the Sony a7II has IBIS, and yes, it provides benefit to both fully compatible lenses and "adapted" lenses.

    A good tripod provides a tremendous benefit to all cameras and lenses, from pretty much any manufacturer. thumb.gif
    ziggy53
    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
  • ziggy53ziggy53 Super Moderators Posts: 23,704 moderator
    edited December 16, 2014
    Regarding the Sony FDR-AX100 and rolling shutter:

    http://www.videomaker.com/article/17102-sony-fdr-ax100-4k-handycam-review

    "... it should be noted that we saw some pretty serious rolling shutter skewing when panning at moderate speeds while zoomed in."
    ziggy53
    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
  • ziggy53ziggy53 Super Moderators Posts: 23,704 moderator
    edited December 16, 2014
    ziggy53 wrote: »
    The The Blackmagic Production Camera 4K appears to be the least expensive 4K video camera with a global shutter, eliminating the problems of CMOS and rolling shutter. It can use Canon EF mount lenses, which can help reduce TCO (especially if you already own those lenses).

    At $40,000USD it's not a trivial purchase, but rental can help a lot in reducing production costs.

    ...

    Not sure where I came up with the price for the Blackmagic Production Camera 4K, but B&H is listing it for $3,000USD.

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/964119-REG/blackmagic_design_blackmagic_production_camera_4k.html

    Primary Features:

    4K Super 35mm Sensor with Global Shutter
    Records 4K (3840x2160) & HD (1920x1080)
    ProRes 422 Codecs (HQ, 422, LT, & Proxy)
    Compressed CinemaDNG RAW (4000x2160)
    12 Stops of Dynamic Range
    Canon EF Lens Mount
    Built-In SSD Recorder
    6G-SDI Output for Ultra HD via One Cable
    5" Touchscreen LCD (800x480 Resolution)
    Includes DaVinci Resolve and UltraScope
    ziggy53
    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
  • perronefordperroneford Registered Users Posts: 550 Major grins
    edited December 21, 2014
    The Blackmagic 4K camera has a lot of advantages over other cameras. BUT, this is NOT a camera for a hobbyist. It is designed to position into a working professional's workflow. It does not do image stabilization (that's unnecessary for pros), it doesn't do well in low light as pros tend to light film sets to the required levels. It doesn't record highly compressed formats onto SD cards for easy playback.

    If you want a consumer level handycam, get the Sony. If you want a mid-level tool that requires a bit more work but has some nice consumer friendly features, get the A7s. If you want to make movies to show on a real cinema screen, and are willing to purchase and use pro tools and software, the Blackmagic Production Camera may be what you want.

    For the sake of this discussion, I'll leave on conversations about RED, Canon Cinema EOS, BM Ursa, and similar cameras. I'm assuming the O.P. isn't interested in $10k+ cameras.
  • ziggy53ziggy53 Super Moderators Posts: 23,704 moderator
    edited March 20, 2015
    Early reviews for the AJA Cion are coming in. A pretty decent review is at Cinema5D:

    http://www.cinema5d.com/aja-cion-review-all-about-the-aja-camera/

    In a nutshell, it looks like this first entry from AJA is a very competent studio 4k camera, with a true Global shutter, but limited dynamic range and limited ISO selection for many (most) outdoor natural scenes. If you don't have very tight control over lighting, this camera will probably disappoint. (Note that the Blackmagic Production Camera 4K also shared similar traits, in this review.)

    (ziggy note: The AJA RAW output via via SDI outputs was not tested in this review and dynamic range and SNR may be affected using that technology.)
    ziggy53
    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
  • ziggy53ziggy53 Super Moderators Posts: 23,704 moderator
    edited March 20, 2015
  • ziggy53ziggy53 Super Moderators Posts: 23,704 moderator
    edited March 24, 2015
    4fcfca189e5e88f5cae6e543e7d6c00f_XL.jpg

    AJA CION - The Full Red Shark Review:

    "Fantastic Cinematic Images"

    From the above review:

    "The CION records various iterations of the popular Apple ProRes format (up to 444) in DCI 4K (4096x2160), UltraHD (3840x2160), 2K (2048x1080), and Full HD (1920x1080) to proprietary AJA solid state magazines called AJA Paks. When recording to these mags the CION will record up to 60fps, depending on the format. With the addition of an external recording unit, the CION can capture a customized AJA flavor of an uncompressed, lossless raw and additional frame rates up to 120 fps.

    Four outputs for monitoring (two SDI and two via HDMI) allow for the simultaneous connection of an external electric view finder and a preview monitor. A set of each of these connections are located on the top front of the assistant side and rear of the camera, allowing for flexibility when it comes to your video tap. Also located on the top front is a 2-pin power connector, very handy for powering your EVF or monitor. In addition to monitoring the CION has four 3G-SDI outputs for 4K, UltraHD or four 1080 streams, two XLR audio inputs and a LTC jack."


    "When it comes to lenses you're going to have a wider selection of glass to choose from, including the PL cinema lens many DoPs and operators are both familiar and comfortable with. Many other cinema cameras on the market default to DSLR mounts, and these still photography lens are simply different than those traditionally used on motion picture cameras. With DSLR lenses so prevalent in shooting these days, it was a pleasant, comfortable experience working with cinema lenses again.

    That being said, AJA's lens mount is removable, allowing you to easily add a variety of alternative lens mounts, expanding your options further: Canon EF (which a number of shoots have invested a significant amount of money in), Nikon as well as Arri Bayonent and others."


    "AJA elected to make use of a global shutter, so you won't be haunted by the limitations of the dreaded “jello-vision,” which I can't thank them enough for. I know this sort of pixel-bending-distortion has become common place, but I find rolling shutter artifacts to be a sickly blemish on cinematography. With the CION I felt comfortable making rapid movements such as quick pans or in camera whip-around transitions."


    Plenty more to read at the link above.
    ziggy53
    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
  • perronefordperroneford Registered Users Posts: 550 Major grins
    edited April 5, 2015
    The AJA Cion uses the exact same sensor as the BM Production Camera. That sensor has 12 stops of dynamic range. This is hardly "limiting" as it is about where film was at the turn of the century. The Cion will cost a LOT more to shoot than the BM Production camera in all practical terms. And this is NOT a camera suitable to be operated by a single person. If someone is doing scripted work, then ok. But honestly, it'll costs upwards of $20k ready to shoot a full day's work once support, media, and other items are considered.
  • ziggy53ziggy53 Super Moderators Posts: 23,704 moderator
    edited April 9, 2015
    I suppose that the Sony FS700R should be mentioned. (The FS700R is an upgraded FS700U, with 4K [DPX-RAW codec] enabled through a single 3G HD-SDI port.)

    Adding the Odyssey 7Q+ (external recorder) and latest firmware upgrade gets you:
    • 1-60fps 4K raw to DPX format
    • 120fps 4K raw burst mode (4 seconds)
    • 240fps 2K raw continuous to Cinema DNG
    • Single 3G HD-SDI link
    The total package is still pricey, unless you can find a used camera and recorder, but rental is very much an option.

    While the FS700R is CMOS with a rolling shutter, since it has a very fast CMOS readout the high-speed modes have reduced rolling shutter effect.

    Users are reporting up to 15 stops of dynamic range (from a wedge chart), and around 12-13 stops "usable" dynamic range (usable detail). (Sony says 15 stops DR.)

    Add a compatible MetaBones Speed Booster and very fast aperture FF lens, and you can achieve astonishing low-light video too.
    ziggy53
    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
  • ziggy53ziggy53 Super Moderators Posts: 23,704 moderator
    edited May 19, 2015
    I suppose that, sooner or later, the new Panasonic Lumix DMC-G7 should be discussed. RedShark is calling it, "Like a GH4... but at half the cost!"

    Just announced, it's difficult to accurately formulate an opinion, but it does look to be a very affordable entry product into 3840x2160 at 30p or 24p in MP4. There is also a very real possibility (probability) that shooting at 3840x2160 and downsampling to 1080p will look pretty stunning in many ways

    http://www.redsharknews.com/production/item/2595-panasonic-dmc-g7-4k-interchangeable-lens-camera-at-half-the-price-of-the-gh4.
    ziggy53
    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
  • ziggy53ziggy53 Super Moderators Posts: 23,704 moderator
    edited July 14, 2015
    Baldy wrote: »
    So I was really leaning toward the GH4 because I could get that wonderful shallow depth of field with the 0.95 lenses available for it. But the rolling shutter, poor high ISO performance, and form factor with no image stabilization, etc., has me doubting.

    ...

    From the DPReview "First Impressions" of the "Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 IV";

    "All the camera's main capability increases come from the enhanced speed of the new sensor. This translates into incredibly fast continuous shooting (16 fps to be exact) and high frame rate video (up to 960 fps), as well as support for 4K video recording with full pixel readout. And, when the Exmor RS is used in electronic shutter mode, the faster readout means there's less of a delay between starting to read the sensor and finishing: meaning rolling shutter is essentially eliminated."

    Ziggy note: For a $1000USD, 1" BSI Stacked sensor, this is a huge advancement.

    F1.8-2.8 24-70mm (equivalent) Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* lens
    UHD Video: 3840 x 2160 (30p), 100Mbps (XAVC S)
    Full-HD Video: 1920 x 1080 (120p/60p/30p/24p)
    Max video bit rate: 100Mbps (XAVC S)


    From the Imaging-Resource "Hands-on Preview"

    "... Sony is claiming that high-speed readout will translate to minimal rolling shutter (or jello) effect, even when using the electronic shutter!"

    Sony RX100 IV Slow Motion Video

    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/SsF2UbtGkgA&quot; frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
    ziggy53
    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
  • ziggy53ziggy53 Super Moderators Posts: 23,704 moderator
    edited May 10, 2016
    Really need to include the Canon XC10 as a very portable 4k acquisition tool.

    4k (UHD, 3840 x 2160) XF-AVC Intra@305MBps, 4:2:2 sampling and Canon Log gamma with 12 stops DR, all behind a 10X, 24–241 mm (equivalence) lens (albeit with a rather slow f2.8–f5.6 maximum aperture) plus internal ND filter*; that all leads to a pretty respectable, all-in-one camera, suitable for travel and ENG video.

    Users report some rolling shutter at UHD, but less than other UHD cameras.
    http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/canon-xc-series-uhd-camcorders/528880-no-rolling-shutter-canon-xc-10-a.html

    *(Video minimum ISO is ISO 500, so a bright and sunny outdoors may require an external screw-on ND filter or two.)

    http://tomallen.info/is-the-canon-xc10-the-adventure-travel-filmmakers-ideal-camera/
    http://www.dpreview.com/articles/1113663915/opinion-why-the-canon-xc10-is-a-big-deal
    http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/crossing-the-bridge-canon-xc10-review
    http://www.videomaker.com/article/r02a/18378-canon-xc10-review
    ziggy53
    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
  • ziggy53ziggy53 Super Moderators Posts: 23,704 moderator
    edited August 2, 2016
    ziggy53 wrote: »
    Really need to include the Canon XC10 as a very portable 4k acquisition tool.

    For anyone considering the Canon XC10, make sure you get, or install, firmware update 1.0.2.0 for the XC10. This adds improved AF speed and functionality, improved low light noise signature in FullHD mode and MP4 recording capability in FullHD mode (in addition to the current MXF format).

    Previously, firmware 1.0.1.0 reduced rolling shutter effect in 4k mode. At the same time the MSRP was reduced from ~$2500USD to $1,999.00.

    It looks like Canon is pretty serious about this little camera.

    More information:

    http://www.newsshooter.com/2016/07/11/canon-xc10-firmware-update-improved-af-test/

    http://www.4kshooters.net/2016/07/01/canon-release-major-firmware-update-for-their-xc10-4k-hybrid-camera/

    http://gadgetflux.net/canon-xc10-firmware-update-v1010/

    http://www.eoshd.com/2016/06/canon-xc10-versus-sony-rx10-iii-the-canon-is-underrated/
    ziggy53
    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
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